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Headaches and Hypothyroidism

Is there a connection between your headaches and your thyroid?
Headaches and Hypothyroidism
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Do you find yourself dealing with persistent headaches or migraines? Your thyroid could be to blame. If you are struggling with headaches on a consistent basis and you have other symptoms of hypothyroidism, it might be time to talk to a doctor.

The thyroid-headache connection

A study of 130 migraine patients revealed a connection between thyroid stimulating hormone and migraines and according to the National Headache Society, approximately 30% of patients with hypothyroidism suffer from headaches attributed to hypothyroidism

The National Headache Foundation states receiving thyroid treatment can help resolve thyroid related headaches and migraines. The study looked at "45 patients with migraine without aura and subclinical hypothyroidism. Individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism typically have mild or no symptoms of hypothyroidism, a mildly high thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level, and a normal thyroxine (T4) level. Qualified patients were given between 50 and 100mg of levothyroxine per day. The study showed that migraine severity was reduced. Patients also went from an average of 14.68 migraines to 1.86 migraines per month.” 

Finding a great thyroid doctor

The first step in relieving the frequency of thyroid related headaches is to visit with a thyroid doctor to properly diagnose and treat your condition.

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How can I prevent thyroid-related headaches?

Switch to a whole foods diet

Our lives are full of unnecessary, and sometimes unavoidable toxins on a daily basis. And while we can’t eliminate all of the environmental toxins, we can do something about the chemicals that we ingest in the foods and beverages that we consume. By removing processed, chemically laden food from our diet and replacing them with organic, whole food choices we can reduce the toxic overload that is on our body.

Our nutritionists can help you understand what is the best diet for you and for your migraines:

Remove sugar

Sugar causes inflammation and patients with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease are much more likely to suffer from chronic inflammation. This inflammation can cause or increase the severity of headaches. By removing sugar and other inflammatory foods you can also avoid persistent and painful headaches or migraines.

Restore magnesium levels

Most Americans are already deficient in magnesium, but hypothyroidism patients are even more likely to suffer from low magnesium levels. Low levels of this vital mineral have been shown to cause headaches and higher doses of magnesium may treat a sudden severe headache. Adding Epsom salts to a warm bath is a great way to quickly replace magnesium in our body. Plus, it’s a great excuse for a soak at the end of a stressful day.

How can I treat headaches naturally?

Peppermint essential oil

Peppermint essential oil has been shown to effectively reduce or eliminate pain associated with headaches by helping increase blood flow in the body. There are several methods to try when using peppermint oil.

Diffuse into the air

By adding a few drops of oil into a diffuser that has been filled with water, you can enjoy the scent of peppermint and it will help reduce the pain. Another quick and effective way to do this is to inhale directly from the bottle.

Apply to the skin

Essential oils should always be mixed with a carrier oil. Begin by placing a small amount of an oil such as olive oil into your hand. Then add a couple of drops of peppermint oil and apply to forehead, neck, or behind the ears. If this is too strong, try putting some on your wrists.

Add to the bath

Epsom salt baths are a great way to replace magnesium in the body. Adding 3-5 drops of peppermint oil to the bath can help reduce the headache quickly and makes for a relaxing bath.

Lavender essential oil

Lavender is another essential oil that is great for headaches and stress. It can be used the same ways as mentioned above. Diffusing will be especially beneficial for reducing stress levels and can help with headaches that may also be associated with stress. Lavender has also been shown to help with sleep, so diffusing it while you sleep or adding it to a nighttime bath is an effective way to reduce tension and ease headaches.


Chronic inflammation is very common in patients with hypothyroidism and  a direct link between migraines and inflammation has been reported, so taking measures to reduce inflammation may help reduce headaches and migraines.

The chemical compounds in ginger are gingerols and shogaols and have been shown to have both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Talk to your doctor about adding a ginger supplement to your daily routine if you struggle with numerous headaches or migraines each month. 

Ginger essential oil is also available and can be applied to the temples. Again, a carrier oil should be used when applying ginger oil to the skin.

As always, discuss any treatment with your doctor. By learning how hypothyroidism and headaches are connected, working with your doctor, and taking steps to naturally relieve your pain, you can begin to eliminate the symptoms and frequency of headaches. Also always remember to check your symptoms frequently


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Julia Walker, RN, BSN

Clinical Nurse

Julia Walker, RN, BSN, is a clinical nurse specializing in helping patients with thyroid disorders. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Regis University in Denver and a Bachelor of Arts in the History of Medicine from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She believes managing chronic illnesses requires a balance of medical interventions and lifestyle adjustments. Her background includes caring for patients in women’s health, critical care, pediatrics, allergy, and immunology.

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